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When research participation pays, some people lie

Between 10-23 percent of participants in a paid survey about flu vaccination status misled researchers about their eligibility to participate

  • Offering compensation can be an important tactic to attract potential participants for enrollment in research studies, but it might come at a cost.

  • A new study found that up to 23 percent of respondents lied about their eligibility to participate in a survey when offered payment, even small amounts.

Anecdotal evidence and common sense suggest that offering money may encourage participants to lie about their eligibility or other aspects of study participation in order to secure payment, the authors said
  • But few studies have investigated whether and to what extent people will deceive, leaving a major gap in the literature.

  • Although this study was conducted in the context of survey research, its findings support the need for further studies in clinical trials, where payment amounts and other benefits, like access to investigational drugs, as well as study risks, are often more substantial.


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